RFSL co-organised the only LGBTIQ-themed event during the High Level Political Forum in New York


The UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is an important part of evaluating the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each year, the HLPF reviews the implementation of a specific number of Goals. One of the Goals reviewed this year is Goal 11 on making cities safe and inclusive. Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals are guided by the principle of “leaving no one behind”. This means that achieving the SDGs will be impossible unless the most marginalized are included.


“It was the only LGBTIQ focused event during the 10 day long session of the HLPF and the importance of having it take place in the formal setting of the UN should not be underestimated”
 Micah Grzywnowicz, International Advocacy Advisor at RFSL.


The rapid urbanization of recent years has brought poverty, inequality and exclusion. This is especially apparent when looking at the human rights violations faced by LGBTIQ people in all countries and regions. In some upper-middle income and high-income countries, more than 40% of homeless youth in cities identifies as LGBTIQ.

Recent research shows that this group needs adequate, safe and affordable housing, better access to services, an increased general safety and reduced poverty. Specific data on LGBTQI population is scarce and rarely collected in a systematic way, so tracking trends and developing an analysis proves challenging. This data is needed for legal, policy and program changes to come about.

“Together with States of Chile, Uruguay and Canada as well as UNDP and UNFPA, we managed to create space to discuss issues faced by LGBTIQ people in urban settings. Thanks to participation of Mauro Cabral Grinspan from GATE, we put a special emphasis on the challenges faced in cities by trans people”


added Grzywnowicz. Additionally, the discussion also allowed to ask critical questions about the state of the implementation of the SDGs.



Ambassador Milenko Skoknic, Chile

Ambassador Louise Blais, Canada

Mauro Cabral Grinspan, Global Action for Trans Equality

Tenu Avafia, United Nations Development Programme

Elizabeth Benomar, United Nations Population Fund

Moderator: Micah Grzywnowicz, RFSL Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights

Participants in the event learned about:

  • good practices, challenges and lessons learned in promoting inclusion of LGBTIQ people in urban settings.
  •  the need to systematically collect better data in order to create rights-based, inclusive policies and practices.
  • The importance of listening to lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people and their communities, including LGBTIQ youth.

“I appreciated the fact that the panelists continuously call for action from different actors to ensure that the implementation of the SDGs in general and Goal 11 in particular is inclusive and takes into account the needs of LGBTIQ people. The event also focused on the sense of urgency that LGBTIQ populations are in”, Grzywnowicz concluded.


A full video recording of the event is available on RFSL’s Facebook page.


Photo by Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations